Are you a young scientist who has obtained a PhD in organic, bioorganic, or medicinal chemistry within the past five years? Have you just returned (or are planning to soon return) from at least a yearlong post-doctoral research stay abroad and are thinking about establishing your own research group in the Czech Republic? 

These start-up grants are awarded for a period of three years to young scientists who have spent at least a year conducting research abroad. The research group will receive a total of CZK 2 million from Experientia Foundation every year. Another 0,7 million CZK, the workplace and laboratory equipment will be provided by the host institution.

WHAT IS THE DEADLINE FOR APPLYING?

Applications for start-up grants may be submitted until 15 March of every year.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I WISH TO APPLY FOR A START-UP GRANT?

If you intend to apply for a start-up grant, you can be assured that you may consult with us about your project at any time. We will be happy to advise you. 

  1. Conceptualise an original organic, bioorganic, or medicinal chemistry project. 
  2. Contact Experientia Foundation, by sending your initial idea via email to: experientia@experientia.cz. After a consultation with us, you will receive a draft of the Experientia Start-up Grant Award Agreement, Setting Out the Rights and Obligations of the Contracting Parties (to be entered into between you, the Experientia Foundation, and the relevant host institution).
  3. Contact the host institution at which you are planning to establish your research group. 
  4. Submit your grant application to the Experientia Foundation (experientia@experientia.cz) by no later than 15 March.

WHAT MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE START-UP GRANT APPLICATION?

The project proposal must be submitted in English and it must include the following: 

  1. Project name 
  2. Information about the research team members (or a description of the available positions if the names of specific individuals are not yet known at the time the application is submitted) 
  3. An abstract of the project (no more than 1,000 characters in length) 
  4. An introduction to your scientific project (four to five pages in length, including relevant citations and images) 
    • project objectives 
    • extent of relevant findings to date 
    • analysis of the proposed procedures to achieve the project objectives 
    • explanation of how the project significantly advances the boundaries of knowledge and an identification of the risks involved 
    • identification of the workplace where the project will be realised 
  5. Information about you as the primary investigator:
    • your personal information (name, surname, date of birth, address, phone number, and email address) 
    • your structured CV including information about Master´s and PhD thesis (title of the thesis, name of the supervisor, affiliation, brief summary of the content, in the length of 3 sentences)
    • list containing no more than five of your most important publications 
    • complete list of all of your publications, as well as any other outputs from your scientific work 
    • information about your research stay abroad 
  6. Two letters of recommendation providing evidence of your academic profile, preferably from two different institutions and, if possible, from two different countries
    (Please note that letters of recommendation are sent directly by your educational supervisor to the Experientia Foundation. All letters of recommendation (including foreign ones) must be delivered to the Board of Trustees at experientia@experientia.cz until 15 March)
  7. An overview of the expected costs for the entire duration of the project, calculated using the interactive form
    Form Breakdown of Funds
  8. A letter from the official representative of the host institution confirming the following: 
    • The status of the principal investigator’s research group (within the framework of the organisational structure of the workplace) 
    • The commitment to co-finance the Experientia Foundation startugrant in an amount of CZK 700,000 per year (in accordance with Article III.1) 
    • Consent to provide laboratory space corresponding to the size of the research team, including the required furnishings and fittings and access to the workplace’s equipment and any other required areas in the event that the Experientia Foundation startugrant is awarded 

HOW SHOULD I SUBMIT MY APPLICATION?

Submit the complete written application, including all of the required attachments, by 15 March of the relevant year electronically (as a PDF file) via email to experientia@experientia.cz. You will receive an email from us confirming receipt of your application and we will confirm receipt of recommendation letters of your referees, too.

HOW WILL MY APPLICATION BE ASSESSED?

For each project proposal we assess both its overall quality, or more precisely, its level of scientific excellence, as well as the clearly defined research objective of the project, how ambitious it is, its high-risk/high-gain aspects, the originality of the project, and your self-sufficiency and independence. We place particular focus on whether the submitted project is sufficiently different from any of your previous projects (mainly from the projects you completed for your doctoral studies and during your post-doctoral research). Your previous scientific activities also play a role, with emphasis placed on the excellence of results. 

All project proposals are assessed by at least two independent international expert reviewers, as well as by the Experientia Foundation Grant Committee. The selected candidates will be invited to present their projects at a joint meeting of the Grant Committee and the Board of Trustees.

HOW SHALL I PREPARE FOR THE PRESENTATION OF MY PROJECT?

If you are invited to present your project at a joint meeting of the Grant Committee and the Board of Trustees (usually held at the end of May), this means you have advanced to the second round of the competition. You can choose presenting in person or online. You should send your project presentations (in ppt/pdf format) to the email experientia@experientia.cz no later than 2 days prior to the date of the meeting, confirming at the same time whether you will be attending in person or online. The expected length of your presentation will 10 minutes max. The candidates should also be prepared to discuss their projects briefly with the members of the Grant Committee and the Board.

WHEN WILL I FIND OUT IF I WILL RECEIVE A START-UP GRANT?

A final decision will be made by no later than 30 June of the relevant year. 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IF I AM AWARDED A START-UP GRANT?

If our decision regarding your application is positive, we will conclude the (Experientia Start-up Grant Award) Agreement, setting out the rights and obligations of the contracting parties with you.

This agreement will be concluded by you, the host institution, and the Experientia Foundation by no later than 15 December of the relevant year.  

As the principal investigator, you will become an employee of the host institution and will be responsible for the proper and prudent use of the allocated resources and for compliance with the conditions of the Experientia Foundation start-ugrant. The host institution will carry out regular audits of how the financial resources are used.  

The Foundation reserves the right to visit the principal investigator’s research site during the course of the Start-up Grant period in order to discuss questions concerning the project.

You will also be obliged to submit an annual report (up to 4 standard pages, including images) by 15 January, and an overview of the funds used, clearly identifying funds granted by the Foundation and those provided by the host institution. The overview must also incorporate an outline of the budget for the next calendar year. If the Board issues a favourable opinion of the project’s progress, the funding for the next calendar year (up to the total duration of the project) will be approved.

We expect that through the support Foundation’s Start-Up Grant, you, as the principal investigator, will submit an application for an ERC Grant from the European Research Council. 

The final report must be submitted within three months of the end date of the project. The final report (up to 6 pages including figures) must contain a description of the overall activity, a list of publications and an overall assessment of the results.

In the November of the final year of the project, you are also obliged to deliver a lecture at the Liblice Conference on Advances in Organic, Bioorganic, and Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

Additionally, you will acknowledge the Foundation’s sponsorship and include a link to its current website in all publications and other outputs produced through the support Foundation’s Start-Up Grant.  All outputs will incorporate accurate information on the affiliation of the authors in relation to the host institution.

FAQ

May I apply for a start-up grant even before I complete my year-long research stay?

Yes, you may. 

Which host institutions is it possible to contact in connection with the Experientia Foundation start-up grant programme?

We have received positive responses from the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague, Masaryk University in Brno, Palacký University in Olomouc, the Charles University Faculty of Science in Prague, the Charles University Faculty of Pharmacy in Hradec Králové, and the University of Pardubice. It is, however, possible to contact other universities and research institutions as well. 

Must I already be an employee of the host institution at the time I submit my grant application?

No, but you must become their employee no later than on the date the project is started, i.e. 1 January of the relevant year. 

May I also lecture at the host institution in addition to my 100% commitment to the start-up grant project?

Yes. Not only is it possible, it is also desirable. However, the teaching hours cannot exceed five hours per week. 

Is the size of the research team limited in any way?

Yes and no. The allocation of the funds to personnel and operational costs is fully within your competence, but you must comply with the financial limits. The host institution will, however, surely be interested in the size of your team, as it is obliged to provide you with adequate laboratory space in accordance with the Start-up Grant Award Agreement. 

May I employ an employee of the workplace (who is not a student or a post-doctoral researcher) as a member of my team?

Yes, you may. It is entirely up to you as to how you form your team. 

How will I be able to use the funds form the grant?

The funds will be deposited to a separate analytical account administered by the host institution, which will be used to pay both the wages of the team members and the operational expenses.  

May I use the grant to purchase computer technology?

Yes, you may. The only thing you may not use the grant for is the purchase of long-term assets, i.e. equipment (or other tangible assets) costing more than CZK 40,000 and software (or other intangible assets) costing more than CZK 80,000. 

May I request a grant to support a theoretical (computer) project that is associated with the relevant fields (organic, bioorganic, and medicinal chemistry)?

Yes, you may. 

May I request funding support for the same project from other Czech and foreign grant agencies?

Yes, you may. 

Is it possible for the grant period to be extended if I do not use all of the funding by the end of the third year?

No, it is not. The grant period cannot be extended, and all of the funding must either be used by the end of the grant period or returned to the Experientia Foundation’s bank account. 

If I am not awarded an Experientia Foundation start-up grant, may I reapply the following year?

Yes, you may.